Imagine that your company, religious organization, or civic group has asked you to submit a report on the best personal computer to buy for members of the organization. Your goal in this essay is to provide information on at least three (3) different models. To achieve this goal, submit a compare and contrast report (essay) on at last three (3) personal computer models. Provide a concluding paragraph in which you recommend the best model for the organization.
Final Report (Compare and Contrast Essay)
Using information from intelliPath and the outline guide in the chapter on the compare and contrast pattern of development in your textbook, compile the information from your research and write your report.At the end of your report (conclusion), you should recommend the best personal computer for use by employees of the organization.
Following the compare and contrast pattern of development, your paper should contain:
an introduction paragraph (place your thesis statement at or near the end of this paragraph).
body paragraphs (each body paragraph should present and discuss a point that supports your thesis statement).
a conclusion paragraph.
Format your project in APA manuscript style in the following order:
Write the essay using the compare and contrast pattern of development:
Write the essay using a formal tone and style, which avoids the use of personal pronouns (you, I, me, or we).
To support your thesis and main points, cite evidence (facts, statistics, and expert viewpoints) from a minimum of (3) sources about the computers from theWorldwide Web in the text of your essay. Include in-text citations and corresponding reference entries on your reference list. The use of sources is not optional; you must use sources.
“Using Transitions and Repetition,” p. 38 “Reading Sources,” pp. 52-55 “Viewing Images Critically,” pp. 58-61 “Writing Comparison and Contrast,” pp. 106-109 “Writing Memos, Reports, and Proposals,” pp. 123-126
01:08:29 Pages from the textbook
USING TRANSITIONS AND REPETITION
Transitions and repetitionâ?? important components of essay writing and essential to achieve unity and coherenceâ?? are also two of the most difficult to implement and use. If used correctly, they will improve the flow of the paper and strengthen the discussion by bolstering connecÂ?tions between and among ideas. However, if transitions are left out or used incorrectly, or if repetition is egregiously overused or underused, those flaws may completely overshadow the rest of the paper. Transitions are the words and phrases that elaborate on the relaÂ?tionships between ideas. Transitions can indicate organization and the order of ideas, how one idea leads to the next, and how a subsequent idea contradicts or augments a previous idea. If an essay moves from one idea to the next without transition, it may be jarring to the reader, who is left to wonder what the topic in the previous paragraph has to do with the discussion in the next paragraph. Transitions should connect larger ideas at the beginnings and endings of paragraphs, since those are usually where papers move from one main idea or substantial piece of evidence to the next. However, transitions should also conÂ?nect smaller, individual ideas to show a relationship between claims within a paragraph. Figure 2.6 presents common transitional phrases and the contexts in which they would be used. Using repetition correctly can be challenging. On the one hand, a well- written essay requires repetition and reiteration of ideas. The overarching ideas presented in the introduction should be reiterated when appropriate in the body paragraphs and noted again in the conclusion. Otherwise, a paper will appear disjointed and fragmentedâ?? it will not add up to a cohesive whole. On the other hand, however, too much repetition keeps ideas from growing or expanding in new directions. Simply saying the same things over and over does not bolster an argument nor engage the reader. Use repetition instead to underscore and reinforce the main ideas of the argument at stake. Transition and repetition silently work to connect ideas together ( across and within paragraphs), to reinforce arguments and ideas, and to enable the cohesive flow of entire papers. If the transitions and repetition have been used well, readers will be able to focus on the essayâ??s arguments.
Once a reliable and relevant group of potential sources has been accuÂ?mulated, the next job is to make sense of them. Approach this portion of the research process in a logical and efficient manner. The more sources that are explored for the paper, the less time there is to examÂ?ine each of them. Although it would be informative and thorough to read through each resource in full, that simply is not practicalâ?? nor is it the best way to conduct research. Instead, scan or skim each source to determine whether close reading will be productive. In addition to helping the researcher evaluate content, scanning and skimming can help in predicting how long it will take to read the source.
Scanning a Source
Begin by scanning the source. Think of scanning as examining the sourceâ??s most important facts, similar to how the source was selected initially. Briefly review the important aspects of the source that can tell more about the kind of evidence it will provide. Take time to look back at the author, title, and publication information found while gathering sources. Then, ask the following questions: Is this a technical source? Does it include many facts, quotations, or images? Try to determine which part of the argument this source could support. Next, review the abstract, the table of contents, and/ or the index. Determine what material is covered in each section. Usually, not all the material in an entire work will be applicable to a given paper, so do not spend research time on less useful portions. Look for sections that specifically relate to the topic. Check for information at the beginning or end that may reveal whether this source is less helpful, or if it may not connect to the topic at all. Then, scan the index to see if any of the keywords of interest appear; if so, determine whether they are mentioned frequently and in which chapters they appear. Once finished scanning, decide whether the source is helpful for further researchâ?? if it is, proceed to skimming, and if it is not, move on to another source.
Skimming a Source
When skimming, readers still do not give the source a full or complete read. Instead, skimming involves zeroing in on what are potentially the most important and/ or interesting parts of the text and using research time wisely by focusing on them. The table of contents and the index are useful as a guide toward this end. After selecting the portions of the source to skim, look them over. Zero in on key portions of the text indicating organization as well as content, such as titles, headers, and subheads; introduction and conclusion paragraphs; topic sentences of paragraphs; and paragraphs that begin new sections. Do not read each word slowly and carefully; instead, try to skim through the sentences and pause on the ones that seem most pertinent to the research and writing purposes. Scan the larger chunks of quoted text very briefly; unless it seems relevant to the research, move past it in search of determining the authorâ??s larger argument. If a given source is definitely going to be useful in the research, but it is difficult to figure out which parts to skim through, pause and thoroughly read the introÂ?duction, abstract, or preface. A good introduction, for example, will discuss the overarching argument in the book and may even provide a breakdown of the ideas by chapter. This will help determine which parts of the source to focus on. For each source consulted, make a brief annotation about its content and its releÂ?vance and potential value for your work. Annotations put a spotlight on the sources, serve as initial content about the sources, and sometimes uncover unnoticed gaps in the research. More formal use of annotations is discussed later in this chapter.
Reading a Source Closely
Once the most important sections or passages of a source have been identified, take the time to read them slowly and carefully. Sometimes this may entail reading pasÂ?sages two or three times to fully understand what the author is trying to say. While reading, pay attention to the overall argument and any specific points that seem especially relevant to the argument. Take notes carefully to keep track of the most important ideas and quotations and to distinguish between which text is in the authorâ??s own words and which text is paraphrased.
The Importance of Reading Effectively
At this point in the research, if a source is misread or misunderstood, the paper and its argument may suffer later. Continually referÂ?ring back to what was determined as the auÂ?thorâ??s larger argument is helpful for avoiding reading hastily, misunderstanding, or missing any ideas. Fatigue can lead to sloppy reading and poor retention, so short breaks can help to increase efficiency and accuracy. The better the source is understood, the better it can be addressed and used as evidence in oneâ??s own writing.
Reading Electronic Sources
More than ever before, people are conducting their research online, relying on digiÂ?tal rather than paper versions of materials. An electronic online source can make note taking easier in part because it is possible to copy text to use as a quote or save text to later paraphrase and paste into a document. Whether quoting, summarizing, paraphrasing, or saving a chunk of text to manipulate later, be sure to document the source, so that appropriate credit is given when using the information. If an online source proves difficult to readâ?? for example, if the text size is too smallâ?? consider maximizing the page or saving it as a PDF. Writers who continue to struggle with interpreting an electronic source can always print it out and follow the process for reading a source closely. No matter where or in what format a source is accessed, writers still want to make sure they comprehend it completely and can write about it with authority.
Books, articles, and other forms of writing are not the only kinds of sourcÂ?es needed for research. â?œ Readingâ? visual texts may also be necessary. When presented with a visual text, approach it just the same as a book or article: Identify the important facts about the imageâ?? author, title, subject, and publication informationâ?? before considering the imageâ??s message, impact, and argument, and formulate a critical response to the image just as would be done for a written argument. In addition, be prepared to â?œ translateâ? what has been read into images, such as graphs or charts. This kind of translation and understanding of pictures instead of words is more widely known as visual literacy.
No matter what kind of source is scrutinized, retain the information it ofÂ?fers. This can be done through summarizingâ?? that is, condensing and foÂ?cusing on the main ideas. Summarizing ensures that the text is understood and can be rewritten in oneâ??s own words. Make sure to continue to cite all ideas clearly while summarizing to keep from accidentally plagiarizing from an outside source. Another similar techniqueâ?? paraphrasingâ?? will be discussed later in this chapter. Summarizing means pulling out the most imÂ?portant ideas, pieces of evidence, and elements of an argument from a source. Summaries should alÂ?ways be in the writerâ??s own words. Do not try to summarize each sentence of a chapter or a book, as that would take too long. Instead, use scanning and skimming tactics to identify the most imporÂ?tant parts of a source. While summarizing, take note of passages with helpful quotations or pieces of evidence to return to later on in the writing process. On a separate sheet, list ideas for further research or original critical ideas. Be very careful not to incorporate personal opinions about the source or topic into the summary. The summary should be objective, reflect the content of the source at hand, and clearly credit that source. In some instances, assignments or real- world documents may call for longer or shorter summaries of sources. Always check the guidelines for a project beÂ?fore beginning and again before submitting it to be sure all requirements have been met.
Developing a Critical Response
By this point, it will be clear if a source is worth looking at closely; it will be sumÂ?marized by the writer, who now feels confident its main points are understood. The next step is to determine oneâ??s own opinion in relation to the source. Ask these quesÂ?tions: Do I agree or disagree with what I think the author is saying? Can I use these points to support my argument? How do the points discussed in this source comÂ?pare to those I have found in other sources? In an academic paper, it is usually not enough to assemble relevant sources and show that they are understood. These sources still need to be compiled and shaped into an argument. This is the part of the paper where student writers join the critical conversation about their chosen topics. A student writerâ??s contribution to the arguÂ?ment should be a clear, thoughtful response to the evidence. The key tasks in writing an academic paper are to exhibit how thoroughly one understands the evidence and to respond to it with convincing, well- considered, and critical opinions. Remember, it is important to distinguish gut reactions to a topic from logiÂ?cal, reasoned approaches. While passion can make writing more persuasive, passion alone will not help a writer to create a powerful argument. Logical use of evidence and sources to support ideas will.
THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT SOURCES
Once the research has been gathered and all sources validated, it is time to inÂ?corporate the most helpful, salient points into the writing. Before doing so, make sure to distinguish the sources that present strong, credible arguments. Think of sources as a foundation and an academic paper as the house to be built on top of that foundation. If the foundation is weak, the house will come crumbling down. Similarly, if the evidence gathered is weak, the arguments presented in an academic paper will not hold together.
VIEWING IMAGES CRITICALLY
Conducting research is not just about reading through books, articles, journals, and newspapers. Other kinds of media, such as images, are useful in such work. This is because, from time to time, an image captures something that language does not. Think of the saying, â?œ A picture is worth a thousand words.â? Sometimes an image is simply a stronger or more evocative source for research, as some images can have more impact than rhetoric or arguments. When used appropriately, an image can be excellent supÂ?port for an academic research paper. This does not apply to just any image, however; conduct any research on visual maÂ?terials just as stringently as the research in textual materials.
Previewing an Image
Approach the vetting process for images the same as the vetting process for literary sources. Ensure that the image is relevant to the research and comes from a reliable source. To do so, considÂ?er four important factors: what media the image is in, who creÂ?ated the image, what the image is about, and where it is from. First, consider the medium the image is in: photography, painting, or drawing. If the image is a print photograph, it may be easier to check its authenticity; however, if the image is digital, it may have been altered in a program such as PhoÂ?toshop. If the image is a painting held by a museum, this may require more work in the â?œ synthesizingâ? stage ( described later in this section) in order to understand any larger conversations about the image that have taken place.Consider a student, Anna, who is examining a photograph of the aftermath of an earthquake in Haiti. She should first check the caption: How is the picture described? Is the text emotional or factual? Next, Anna will need to determine who took the picÂ?ture. Her interpretation of the picture if the photographer is a journalistâ?? someone who is trained in photography and working for a news corporationâ?? will differ from her interpretation if the picture was taken by a bystander who may have a different agenda. Next, she should scan the contents of the photograph to determine whether the image is consistent with the other information she has read or seen about the event. At this time, Anna will want to check the publication information. For exÂ?ample, if the photograph was published in a reputable source like Time magazine, the photographer probably was in Haiti and the image is authentic. Alternatively, if Anna came across the photograph on a random blog, she may not be able to locate all the citation information or decide whether the image is useful to her argument. Although these examples all relate to photography, use the same qualifications when previewing any image. Identify the author or creator of the work, as well as the publication history of the image. Determining those elements will help ascertain if the image is authentic and if it merits further investigation.
Reading an Image
Once an image has been determined to be authentic, the researcher will read the image much like reading a document: It is important to determine the who, what, when, and where of the image. Examine the image carefully in terms of comprehenÂ?sion and understanding: The goal is to figure out its â?œ story.â? First, decide who is in the image. Is there just one figure, or many people? An image with figures, including animals, will conjure a different impression of the story than an image depicting a plain landscape. Second, try to decipher what is happening. If there are figures in the image, perhaps it is possible to ascertain their
USING SOURCES APPROPRIATELY relationship to one another. If the image is a natural scene, determine what is taking place there. Third, when the image was captured should be discerned. For example, perhaps the image depicts a recent historic event. This judgment can be made based on the clothes or other identifying accessories that may be present in the image. If the image has a timeless quality, this can be discussed in the analysis. Fourth and fiÂ?nally, examine where the image takes place. Compare the scene with the location in which the title and other publication information describe it as taking place. With these elements in place, be confident that it has been read thoroughly. Note: Researchers who still have unanswered questions about the image should return to the information gathered during the preview stage and use it as to assist in making these determinations.
Analyzing an Image
Once the researcher feels confident that the image is understood, the next task is to examine it even more closely. Who, what, when, and where have been determined; now, it is time to proÂ?ceed to the even more challenging task of why. Consider why the image is put together in this manner and what purpose its compilation of elements serves. Take time to examine the image in a critical way. In other words, figure out how it is put together; is the image staged, or is it a candid, natural scene? Try to deterÂ?mine whether the image captures a natural moment, or whether its contents have been carefully assembled to tell some kind of other story. That will aid in determining how truthful the image is or whether the creator of the image is exercising some kind of bias or prejudice.
Interpreting an Image
After reading and examining the image, the next step is to infer more about it by quesÂ?tioning what was behind the creation of the image in the first place. What does it mean? Consider what kind of effect it is supposed to haveâ?? or what kind of effect it does have. Take the evidence gathered about the image and form a critical opinion about it.
Synthesizing Ideas about an Image
When the challenging work of determining oneâ??s own interpretation of an image is complete, how the image relates to a larger critical conversation still must be conÂ?sidered. For example, if a famous or well- known image was selected, other people may have already published arguments about it. Consult those arguments as was done for other sources for the research. The more famous an image is, the more imperative it is to seek out other interpretations of it. Otherwise, the researcher runs the risk of ignoring an important piece of information. In addition, consider whether the composition of the image is wholly unique. Does it allude to yet another image, or does it participate in the documentation of a historic moment? If the former, determine to what the image is alluding; it may be worthwhile to examine that original image as well. If the latter, seek out other images that also capture that moment and compare them to this original image. Bringing these facts together will help to form a stronger, more well- rounded interpretation of the image.
Evaluating an Image
Once all this information has been gathered and processed, look at the image once more. This time, assess how it can contribute to the argument. Does the image seem like a strong, supportive piece of evidence? At this point, the imageâ??s reliability as a source should be determined; the task now is to figure out what is the best way to use it in the paper. Perhaps the image provides evidence that cannot be found in any other medium, or perhaps performing a close reading of it ( narÂ?rating the most important qualities of the imÂ?age and summarizing oneâ??s analysis of them) would make a compelling introduction to the research paper.
TAKING NOTES AND CITING SOURCES
Research is not just about finding reputable sources and absorbing their information; writers must also gather specific materials and pieces of evidence in order to incorporate the research into their writing. To communicate ideas through research papers successfully, complement all ideas with documented evidence and support. Without that evidence and support clearly cited in the paper, the ideas will not seem viable or convincing, and it will appear as though no research has been performed.
Gathering Citation Information Based on Audience
There are several official methods for citation and documentation of sources in academic research, including Chicago/ Turabian, MLA, and APA styles. These style guides are created to help writers organize information and present their ideas in a format most convenient for their readers. These guides vary from organization to organization, based on the needs of the members of the group, and their purÂ?pose is always to make documentation easy and uniform. Two of the most comÂ?mon style guides are from the Modern Language Association ( MLA), used in the humanities, and from the American Psychological Association ( APA), used in the social sciences. This book uses MLA in its citations. Both MLA and APA styles are presented in detail in Section 3. In any situation where writing requires documenÂ?tation of sources, consult the student handbook or ask the instructor which style is preferred. During a studentâ??s college career, MLA and APA styles will likely be required most frequently. Both of these styles require that students document their sources in two places. First, whenever a source or a piece of evidence is included in the body of a paper, complement that with a short citation. Second, at the end of the paper, provide a complete list of all sources referenced. Generally, MLA and APA require the same basic pieces of information; the way this information is formatted, howÂ?ever, differs according to each style. MLA style, the official format of the Modern Language Association, is used most frequently in the humanities, including subjects such as English. When using citaÂ?tions in MLA style, cite all sources in full at the end of the document on a Works Cited page. Within the body of the paper, reference sources by authorâ??s last nameâ?? or titleâ?? and page number. APA style, the official format of the American Psychological Association, is used most frequently in the social sciences, including subjects such as psychology. When using citations in APA style, cite all sources in full at the end of the document in a References list. Within the body of the paper, reference sources by authorâ??s last name, year of publication, and page number. Consult the APA and MLA style sections of this book for more detailed informaÂ?tion about each format.
WRITING COMPARISON AND CONTRAST
Comparison and contrast writing offers the chance to investigate two sides of an issue, or to draw a distinction between two similar topics or ideas. By using comparison and contrast, authors articulate the similarities and the differences between two or more subjects, which enables the authors to show the following: Â? Â? What the subjects have in common and what they do not Â? Â? What advantages one subject might have over the other Â? Â? Which subject might be the best choice or decision in a particular context In both nonacademic and academic settings, comparison and contrast writÂ?ing might be used to enable readers to make decisions. Articles in a magazine or on a website that provides consumer purchasing advice provide many examples of comparison and contrast writing, since they discuss the pros and cons of similar products, such as different laptops or automobile makes and models. By reading a discussion of these productsâ?? features, consumers can decide which is best for them. For example, an article about coffeemakers might discuss the cost, special feaÂ?tures, and efficiency of several relevant models. Readers who review the article thus come away with a better understanding of different coffeemakers in comparison to others and can make more informed decisions about which model best suits their lifestyle or budget.
Integrating Comparison and Contrast into an Essay
The comparison and contrast pattern provides several useful paragraph structures. In nearly all cases, the comparison and contrast pattern will factor heavily into the structure of the essay. The order of body paragraphs may vary in at least two ways, depending on the type of paragraph structure selected to present the information. Some comparison and contrast paragraph structures will emphasize the detailed similarities and differences between two subjects, alternating between the topics according to the points of comparison between them; others will provide a more global portrayal of each subject in relation to the other, presenting one subject in full, and then the other. Authors may wish to outline their topics in detail before beginning comparison and contrast essay writing in order to determine which comÂ?parison and contrast pattern will work best for them. Selecting a particular comparison and contrast pattern can be dependent on what writers wish to emphasize about their topics. For example, Sumita is writing a paper that compares and contrasts ethical practices in two professions: medicine and the law. She will be discussing three elements of ethics: patient/ client confidentialÂ?ity, practitioner responsibility, and potential ethical conflicts. Because Sumita will be addressing each of those elements in relation to each profession, it makes sense that she would structure her paper according to each of those comparable elements, rather than by discussing ethics in each profession separately. A brief outline for Sumitaâ??s paper, then, might look like this:
II. Patient/ Client Confidentiality
III. Practitioner Responsibility
IV. Potential Ethical Conflicts
This organizational scheme works best for topics that include many specific points that can be directly compared. Authors can use the specific points to guide body paragraphs, rather than addressing subjects individually. In this case, the organizational scheme allows Sumita to make a point- by- point comparison of each shared element of ethical practices in the two professions. This structure is especially beneficial for writing that encourages people to decide between two options or comÂ?pare two products or choices in detail. If the chosen topics have fewer shared points to be enumerated, the paper may benefit from a structure that treats each topic in turn. For example, Doug is writing a report that compares one advertising service to another. In this particular case, the two subtopics do not have as many individual points to compare, and Doug prefers to look at each one overall before moving to the other. A brief outline for Dougâ??s report would look more like this:
II. Focus: The Cowan Advertising Group
a. Benefits of using Cowanâ??s services
b. Specialties that Cowan offers
III. Focus: Advertising Associates ( AA)
a. Possibilities AA offers the company
b. Marketing strategy proposed by AA
This organizational scheme allows Doug to focus on each side of his argument in detail, without moving back and forth between them. This moving back and forth can, in some cases, be distracting, particularly if the two subjects do not share many points of similarity. In Dougâ??s case, this method allows him to address each subject individually, but it also challenges him to use the introduction and conclusion to delineate the connections between the two sides of his overall topic. Of course, making connections is a technique Sumita should also apply in her essay. Overall, while both Dougâ??s and Sumitaâ??s pieces use different organizational schemes as structure, they ultimately have the same effect: a strong comparison of two topics.
Thinking Critically about Comparison and Contrast
Comparison and contrast writing is both challenging and rewarding because it forces writers to examine topics from many angles. The form almost demands objectivity: a subjective comparison and contrast paper has a weak overall argument. In order to gather evidence for both sides of the comparison and contrast, the positives and negatives for each element of the argument must be presented. Comparing and contrasting similar items or concepts can lead to the discovery of hidden benefits in one option that had previously appeared to be flawed; similarly, it can lead to the discovery of a fault or flaw in what had previously appeared to be a perfect option. This demand for objectivity is, then, both a positive and negative element of the genre. Remaining objective while writing a comparison and contrast paper can be challenging, particularly if the author approaches the paper with any degree of bias about one of its subjects. On the other hand, it can be rewarding for writers who, after being pushed to examine all the factors of all the sides of an issue, come to some new understanding or thesis about that issue.
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